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New England Patriots

The New England Patriots defeated the Houston Texans 27-20 on Sunday at Gillette Stadium in the 2018 season opener. Here are some of the most notable quotes from the locker rooms and press conferences after the game.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski on what went through his mind on his late second-quarter catch:

“Yeah, when I was running up the seam I had two guys on me and when I saw the ball in the air I literally thought first thing, ‘What is Tom [Brady] thinking?’ When that ball was in the air I had a guy grabbing me and I was just like, ‘I’ve just got to go for it.’ I can’t let them make a play on it, so just went up for it, made the catch. I did make the catch. I don’t know how. When I went to the ground I had it stable in my hand, so it was definitely a catch, but Tom went up to the line really quick just to make sure. We got the play off, which was nice.”

Texans head coach Bill O’Brien on whether he was disappointed that the Gronkowski catch wasn’t reviewed:

“I have no idea, Mark. These are all questions that I probably should have said to John in the beginning. These are questions for Al Riveron and the NFL, not for me. They are not questions for me. It’s not my job, you know.”

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on whether he got a better idea of how catches will be officiated when he challenged a borderline DeAndre Hopkins catch:

“Yeah, but I don’t think that had – I’m not really sure what you’re talking about here. The two plays in Carolina, both challenges that I made and Ron [Rivera] made, were about did the receiver have possession and then a fumble. On this one, Hopkins went to the ground for the ball. It was either he caught it or he didn’t catch it. I don’t know if you were referencing the new rule. I don’t think this play had anything to do with the change in the rule whatsoever. Again, I don’t think it had anything to do with it. I think they ruled it was a catch. I’m not so sure, but it doesn’t really matter what I think. They made the call so that’s what it was.”

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on why he didn’t seem thrilled about the team’s offensive performance:

“I don’t think we played anywhere near what our capabilities are. I think it’s good to win, obviously, but we’ve got to do a lot better than that I think. Just turning the ball over and not taking advantage of some opportunities that we had out there, all of us probably look at the game and realize we could have done a lot of things differently.”

Patriots running back James White on how he handled the situation when Riley McCarron fumbled a late punt return:

“I went up and tapped him on the head. I told him, ‘The play is over. We’ll move on from it. The defense is going to try and get a stop and we might need you that next drive so you can’t be down in the dumps.’ But Riley’s a good football player. We’ve all made mistakes in some key moments so you’ve definitely got to try and lift him up and keep his spirits because we still had a football game to play.”

Patriots punter Ryan Allen on his excellent late fourth-quarter punt:

“Going out there and working efficiently and executing at a higher rate, I think that feels better than having it hit and bounce on the [1-yard line] just with just enough time to have John Jones run down there and down it. That’s great and it’s nice, but just being able to feel like we were in control of that was a good thing at the end of the day.”

Patriots fullback James Develin on his mentality entering 2018 training camp:

“I always come in here and have to earn my keep every single day. I try to stay as hungry as I was when I was 21 years old in this league and just trying to get my foot in the door. I think that [mentality] will take me as far as I will ever go. I just have to always work and try to earn my stay and that’s what I’m going to do every day.”

Patriots wide receiver Phillip Dorsett on his first touchdown as a Patriot:

“It was big. We needed something; we needed to get into the end zone because that defense was stout. They were stopping us on some things where we just needed to get a few plays going, just get in a groove, and get in the end zone.”

Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers on the defense setting an early tone:

“We understood what time of game that it was going to be. As far as being able to get back there, we just had to continue to keep pressuring him. All of our guys all around the board did a great job just getting after him and having him pressured in the pocket.”

Patriots wide receiver Riley McCarron on his muffed punt:

“I made a stupid play. I should have handled the ball; it is as simple as that. I did not make the decision on a fair catch obviously but I know the one I should have made now.”

Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe on the secondary and defensive line working together:

“Everything goes hand in hand. The defensive line gets the pressure and makes the quarterback throw it quicker, or maybe make a bad decision. At the same time we have to cover, so he holds the ball and the defensive line can get there. It all just works hand in hand and when things like that are clicking, it’s pretty hard to get past us.”

Patriots defensive end Deatrich Wise on making pressure look easy:

“Like coach always told us, just keep the pressure on the quarterback and plays will happen. And that’s what we did. We may make it look easy, but it’s not easy. It takes a lot of hard work, discipline, and patience.”

Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson on his first game of the season:

“For me, personally, I think it was terrible on my part. So you can just – I just feel like you can put the ‘L’ on me because I’ll be way better than what I showed today. Just my energy was low and just overthinking the little things. But we just got to capitalize in the red zone, don’t turn the ball over and just kind of continue to do what we do. Take it one play at a time, be on the same page and just go from there.”

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